Category: Security

SANDY: tactical datalinks for all

Tactical datalinks have come to play a key role in virtually every military engagement, but until now only certain platform types — combat aircraft, large naval vessels, command and control centres — have benefitted. These functions are usually part of sophisticated, high-priced solutions incorporating different types of equipment that is often quite complex to install and operate.In modern conflicts, and in coalition operations in particular, the ability to share tactical data with allied units has become an absolute necessity. But helicopters, lighter mission aircraft and special forces units virtually never have access to tactical datalinks because the systems in service today — packed full of functions and sophisticated as they may be —have tended to be too big, too heavy and too expensive. As a result, many of the basic units in the field are effectively cut off from their operational environment. Right-sizing the response for forces in the field What was needed was a simple way to provide basic functions like displaying a map of the tactical situation or sending a tactical message. The new SANDY solution from Thales is just that — an innovative human-system interface that’s easy to install, easy to use and affordable.SANDY runs on a ruggedised tablet connected to the modems and radios that provide access to tactical datalinks. It is specially designed for the cramped conditions of a light mission aircraft cockpit, helicopter...

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Thales Alenia Space in the UK is growing in the value chain

Since legal incorporation in 2013 followed by the acquisition of the SEA space business in 2014, Thales Alenia Space in the UK is continuously growing in the Thales Alenia Space value chain as the progress in electric propulsion module development, the quadrupling of the work-force and the further growth ambitions including developing satellite prime capabilities and the Assembly Integration and  Test (AIT) of major satellite programmes at the UK National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF). Last week, the European Space Agency Board of Directors were welcomed to RAL Space, home to the UK’s new  National Satellite Test Facility both by Thales Alenia Space and RAL Space representatives. Ben Olivier, CEO of Thales Alenia Space UK slated “With staff in Bristol, Belfast and Harwell, Thales Alenia Space has an energised and well balanced work-force with staff numbers distributed evenly from the most recent graduates and apprentices to some of our industry’s most established experts,  this demonstrates the relevance of the Space Sector to the STEM agenda” Thales Alenia Space in the UK  will continue to expand its activities in sophisticated technologies and scientific and Earth observation instruments and payload technologies,  bringing the benefits of the UK’s considerable technology base to new space markets. Ben added that he expected the bi-lateral programme with France for the Microcarb mission to be one of the first programmes to benefit from the NSTF,  with the prospect of...

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GRICAS, an operational solution for aeronautical Search & Rescue that will save more lives

Imagine the following: a technical incident occurs on a long-haul commercial flight. The aircraft’s computer identifies the root cause of the problem and activates a distress beacon while the plane is still en route. It sends out a distress signal, picked up by the special payloads on certain navigation satellites (including Galileo), which retransmit these signals to a ground station, called the Local User Terminal (LUT). This terminal receives and processes the warning message, calculates the position of the transmitter based on certain characteristics of the received signal, and sends this data to the Mission Control Center. The MCC then passes on this information to Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC), which are in charge of launching rescue operations by calling on the appropriate organizations. In other words, while the aircraft is still in flight, the entire rescue process is already set up. Beforehand, a scenario of this type was unthinkable: the distress beacon was designed so that it could only be activated after a crash. Today, a study called GRICAS [Galileo Search and Rescue Return Link Improvement for a better Civil Aviation Safety] is investigating an innovative solution to improve operational Search & Rescue (SAR) systems for civil aviation… and save human lives! MEOSAR Until now, the COSPAS-SARSAT* system operated via secondary payloads carried by observation satellites in low Earth orbit (LEOSAR), which will be reaching end-of-life towards 2020, and...

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